Tracking down the Benjamins

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For the second week in a row, Fusion’s Manuel Rueda has published an eye-catching piece on Venezuela. In this one, he tracks down the owner of DolarToday, the website that tracks the unofficial exchange rate between the Venezuelan BsF and the greenback. The website has become a thorn on the side of the Maduro administration.

The owner is apparently based in South Florida, but Rueda does not reveal his real name, instead using the moniker (tongue firmly planted in cheek) of Benjamin.

The value added:

“Since November 2013, we’ve fought sporadic attempts to block our site,” says Benjamin, whose site started as a Twitter feed. “But everything changed drastically three months ago, when Nicolas Maduro said he wanted us in jail…from then on we’ve had days in which they’ve tried to block us every hour.”

Dolar Today says it circumvents censorship by creating “mirror” sites, placed on proxy servers known as Content Distribution Networks. Dolar Today’s staff places a cryptic link to these sites on its Facebook page, which cannot be blocked by the Venezuelan government.

When the mirror sites are hacked, Dolar Today creates new ones in a cyber cat-and-mouse game.

But so far Dolar Today has remained a step ahead of the government. Thanks to funding from donors whose identities Benjamin won’t reveal, the site has hired engineers to help in the fight against the Venezuelan hackers.

“The engineers we work with are geniuses,” Benjamin told me in a Skype call. “They’ve found ways to automatically create a new mirror site every 20 minutes.”

Benjamin says that seven years ago, there were around 30 websites publishing black market exchange rates in Venezuela, but most weren’t able to survive government hacker attacks. Dolar Today, which maintains a staff of 18 “well paid” writers and web programmers in Venezuela, is holding the line.

The whole controversy on DolartToday is just another sign that the Maduro administration has lost its marbles. They should know full well that, in a severly distorted market such as Venezuela’s, if you ban DolarToday, somebody else is going to come in a do the same job. It’s as easy as making a few phone calls to Cucuta:

Benjamin says the exchange rates he publishes are based on daily calls to several currency traders in Cucuta, a Colombian border city where bolivares are openly traded for Colombian pesos.

Benjamin gets the bolivar to peso exchange rate, then converts that to dollars. He says his method is so reliable that even financial news wires like Reuters have quoted his exchange rate.

Instead of correcting the distorted fundamentals that cause the black market in the first place … they want to shoot the messenger.

Read the whole piece, it’s well worth your time.

1 COMMENT

  1. No, I think this is more of a warning to all of you non-believers in electoral fraud, and YOU know who you are! If the government of Venezuela can throw so much dirt against a small web page like Dollar Today, and I’ll bet they’re using Chinese/Russian/Cuban hackers to help in their efforts as well, just IMAGINE what kind of sophisticated fraud they are planning for the December 6th elections. They’re gonna throw the kitchen sink at this one. This is serious stuff. You’ve got a little more than 5 months to prepare. That’s it. Get ready. This is Venezuela’s last hope…

    • “This is Venezuela’s last hope…”

      How many times have we heard this? I am not being snarky. The truth is we have heard this each and every election. And it has been true each time. Because each time, the cost of Venezuela’s eventual recovery from this collective madness mounts in terms of human misery, deaths, and the amount of time we will need to recover.

  2. A staff of 18?!?!????!??!?

    I find that discombobulating.

    I had wanted to believe DolarToday mostly just reported the exchange rate as they got it off the phone from Cúcuta. But saying “we have a staff of 18” is pretty much admitting “we manipulate the exchange rate we report.” Either on their own behalf, or on behalf of their benefactors.

    How else does an operation that size pays for itself? How else does it make sense?

    • Well, thats a bit jumping to conclusions. DolarToday also run a ton of content, political content. In a kind of clickbaity way, but they do.

      That doesnt help to gain any image of objectivity, of course, but well, we are back to the same point as ever – the problem is that when the government is the one deciding no real information will be generated and distributed about the state of the economy, you have to roll with what you have.

      • “…political content. ”

        Because just pointing the stupidity of chavista regime by telling the truth is now considered “political” and that means “false, derogatory, slandering, invalid and a total pile of bullshit”

        • … all that is what you are saying. I’m not saying anything like that

          The content is political. Which means is related to the politics of the country.And I’m probably in agreement with 99% of the content (if not the way it is presented). But having BOTH things on the same site opens a CHEAP attack against them.

          • My point is, that telling the truth about Venezuela is considered “political”, which according to the antipolitics gangrene, makes it invalid and false, because it’s political.

    • Well, they say the 18 employees are in Vzla. Lets assume, because they are generous, an average salary of BsF. 40.000/month:

      18 x 40000 x 12 x 1.7 = BsF 14.688.000 / yr,
      where 1.7 is the (benefits/”prestaciones” multiplier).

      That’s $32640 / yr (@ Bsf 450/$) in labor costs.

      Not insignificant but not a fortune. They should not need to manipulate the exchange rate to cover that expense. All in all this is probably a $50k/yr (in costs) operation.

      • You just pay them in dollars, then those people can go and offer their dollars, web site design and maintenance pays really good outside Venezuela.

        It’s not their fault that the country’s population has become crazy starved in dollars, it’s the fault of chavismo.

        In normal circumstances, most people would simply shrug and tell somebody selling dollars “why should I buy them at that price, when I can go to an exchange house?”

    • They have publicity in their page and they get allegedly 1 million hits per day. Not to mention that they must have a staff of writers or journalist wannabes that seem to be well “connected” thus offering a little lagniappe for the value of the dollar consultation.

      Aporrea also has publicity in their page..they also must get a kick back for that. I am not a webmaster but it sound logic.

      IF you want to get deep into the monster, millions of dollars are transacted every day at the value set by Dollar Today (or close too). Who is not to tell that they may get influenced, subject to be influenced or at least vulnerable to be influenced by forces beyond the Cucuta market…food for thought.

      • “Aporrea also has publicity in their page..they also must get a kick back for that. I am not a webmaster but it sound logic.”

        The gonorrea morons never knew what means the “Barbara Streissand effect”

    • The way I am reading this is that the 18 persons on staff are IT experts engaged in thwarting the hacking attacks of the regime. I don’t see how this would indicate that they are manipulating the information reported. Nevertheless, having only one remaining source of information is dangerous. If we had more sources, we could feel more confident in the information they provide.

      • 14 are “editors”, they work “part time” 7 days a week, two shifts, they are students making decent wage (which is proably a fortune to them) the rest, are ops and programmers. This is people working from the confort (and safety) of their homes. Programmers are simply “keeping up” with all the censorship and hack attempts as the site is attacked from China, Pakistan and Russia on a daily basis.

        • Thank you, Sir, for your clarification.

          I wonder if the hack attempts have any particular signatures which would suggest that an origin with governmental agencies of the three countries mentioned, or that they come from known independent hackers.

        • China, Pakistan and Russia engaged in fierce CyberWar against the Evil Yankee Empire and Dollar Today!!

          Now we also understand Corruptzuela’s latest love affair with beautiful North Korea: proficient NarcoHackers surfing the Web.

        • Most of this kind of thing is never done in-house. You have your tech guys contact your providers to see how to deal with the latest stupid shennaginans. Of course you need tech people that know what the issue is and can understand the solutions but again, mostly done “above” you.

    • the staff of 18 is mentioned to be based in Venezuela; even if they are ‘well paid’ as Benjamin states, that would represent what, 60k Bolívares a month each? 80k? it is my understanding that not many Venezuelans make this much, even if we round it up to Bs 200k EACH, MONTHLY this doesn’t even amount to ten thousand dollars… by the amount of traffic they get advertising should cover most of their costs.

    • ““we manipulate the exchange rate we report.””

      If people are so damn sure that dolartoday’s cheating the numbers just to damage chavismo, wouldn’t it make more sense just to crank the number up to eleven once and for all? Let’s say, like 5.000 Bs / $ and be done with it??

    • Um, as the passage you quoted says, “Thanks to funding from donors whose identities Benjamin won’t reveal, the site has hired engineers to help in the fight against the Venezuelan hackers.”

      Got that? “funding from donors”. Didn’t even have to click through to the actual story to find that piece of info.

      • Also, if you click through to the article you find this gem: “Benjamin… also works a full-time job in Florida.” It doesn’t sound like the guy is getting mega-rich off this.

  3. Francisco…the guy told me that the staffers are paid around $500 a month.a fortune in Venezuela, where regular employees now make $50 a month [with lots of luck], but it’s cheap to afford for a rich venezuelan empresario in Miami. They told me the reason they hire staff in Venezuela, is cause its cheaper to run a site out of Venezuela than out of the U.S. As for the speculation..yes, there is a risk for “insider trading” but on the other hand, I’ve traded pesos for bolivares in cucuta and the rate offered was very similar to what Dolar Today says. In Cucuta, where there is an open market, peopl would have no incentive at all to “follow” what Dolar Today says, so it seems to me they are reporting on the border exchange rates, and not the other way round..[creating an exchange rate]..but if you want to check for yourself, all you need to do is call up Italcambio and places like that in Cucuta. If the rate is similar to what is publshed in DT then you know tehy’re not lying.

    • Yes, it’s a vast conspiracy, with even some Colombian newspapers regularly reporting the rate–probably Uribe and his ilk, including the one with several exchange houses on the border, trying to tumbar the Robolucion. If the true much-lower-than-stated Venezuelan international reserves level were known, coupled with a highly-unlikely Venezuela economic bailout/currency unification exchange rate pre-December elections, the DT rate would be much higher today than it is currently.

    • The Colombian Central Bank publishes a rate of COP 200+ per Bolívar. This, of course, implies a Bs/US$ rate of around 12, a.k.a. the enchufado/mafia rate.

      Now, you can’t just go to the Colombian Central Bank, hand them a bag of Bolívares and leave with Pesos. I called a Casa de Cambio in Bogotá called Aerocambios (aerocambios.com). They do buy Bolívares at the rate of 4 Pesos per Bolívar , that is, even lower than the one in Cúcuta. So, if someone believes DolarToday sets the price in Cucuta, then there must be a SuperEvilMegaBlasterHiperDolarToday setting that lower rate in Bogotá.

    • There’s a timing element to consider, the fact they are accurately representing what’s happening in Cucuta is not as meaningful as the fact that they are the main point of contact between the source of the information and the majority of the people who participate in the market. I would agree that the 18 people strong work force is an indicator that there is an incentive to keep the site around. That incentive is most likely that they participate in the market before the information is made available to the rest of the users who make up the market, in their benefit.

      No one keeps 18 people around just for fun people. It’s not how the world works.

      • There is a LOT of risk allowing a small group in a single location to take care of everything. The need to have lots of editors allows us to mitigate the risk of having one team intercepted (or caught). Also, for security, few teams know where the others are. They work like cells, this has been like this for the past year or so.

    • Pixar gets at the bulk of my response: I don’t think they’re systematically manipulating the rate by large margins, like the crazy chavista version would have it. That wouldn’t be sustainable. They’re smarter than that.

      But think how incredibly well-placed they are to game the market on the margin, especially since they control the TIMING of their posts.

      Say they see the dollar jump from 400 to 450 one morning. All they have to do is delay posting that fact on DolarToday for, say, 10 minutes to cash in on the arbitrage. In those 10 min., they can take Bs.400, buy a dollar, then post the rate change and turn around and re-sell the dollar minutes later at Bs.450, pocketing the Bs.50 difference.

      Rinse, lather, repeat, day after day, year after year. That adds up.

      Granted, I can’t prove they’re doing that. But I’ll say this: if they’re NOT doing that, they must have a very shiny halo around their heads indeed.

      Plus, as far as I can see, they only update the rate about twice a day: mid-day and end of day.

      So It’s not 10 min. we’re talking about, it’s hours and hours. Easy pleasy. Why give yourself tight deadlines when you can arbitrage at leisure?! After all, you’re the only game in town!

      • Francisco,

        The burden of proof lies on those who make accusations/assertions. If there was ANY evidence whatsoever that DolarToday manipulates the Cucuta exchange rate someone would have said something. Anyone can go to Cucuta and check for themselves that a Bs buys you 6 pesos. So far, I haven’t heard of a single case. Also, they are not the only source for the Dolar Cucuta.

        • Bueno, in a court of law I would have the burden of proof. On a blog comments section I can write whatever BS I damn please!

          • Haha fair enough,

            All I’m saying is that if these guys were deliberately manipulating the exchange rate or delaying it’s publication, someone would have said something by now

      • The 18 staff members are there to write the amazing content they have. Haven’t you noticed the quality? It is like reading the New Yorker or Harper’s Magazine. Their headlines are a work of art.

      • Francisco, if that is the case, then lots of people can do that by just getting on the phone and calling Cucuta trading houses several times per day. You might be giving some people on this forum some interesting business ideas 😉 … In the end, these are just situations created by draconian exchange controls and efforts to ban people from publishing exchange rates..if newspapers like El Nacional or El Universal could publish the parallel exchange rate, Dolar Today wouldn’t have as much influence.

        • Many non-trader/mentality types do use the DT reference, updated twice daily, but deal through intermediaries, who know the spot rate, and receive the arbitrage, if any, plus their up to 10 % commission. The only way, theoretically possible, that DT could arbitrage is if they were broker/dealers, or could direct their numerous readership to favored broker/dealers, or received regular kickbacks from the border broker/dealer community. DT, in the face of “El Nacional/El Universal” once-daily rate publications could still maintain their influence by updating their pricing more frequently during the day.

      • I just don’t see how it would work. The Cucuta trading houses have to set prices according to supply and demand. If they are taking in lots of Bs., then the Bs. price goes down. If they are running short on Bs. then the Bs. price goes up.

        Try telling the cashier he should change his spot price so it conforms to DT.

      • Dude, it’s their site, their rate, they can do whatever they want.
        Just because they’re the only succesfull one, doesn’t mean they are the chosen one and they have to work for societies well being over theirs.
        And btw, I think income from ads can handle the payroll of 18 people.

        • … no.

          “It is their site and they can do whatever they want” is not true.

          Specifically, “let’s use my position to manipulate the market so I can make a killing while other fools lose money” is a crime.

          One that NOBODY is saying they are doing (just speculating that they could do it), but really. Your comment is way out. Thats like saying it is ok for a company to publish false information on their financial status to have people buy stock. Hey, is my site, I can do whatever I want.

  4. “Dollar Today y todos los bandidos que hacen la guerra economica desde Miami. Segun acuerdos de extradiccion, el gobierno de los USA esta obligado a entregarnor esos bandidos que se robaron los bancos en Vzla”

    This is what happens when a Colombian highschool drop-out bus driver, and some low-class army thugs and become “presidents”.

    But the saddest part is that perhaps about 30% of the population, or more, still honestly Believes this Galactic Crap. Say 8 Million pueblo people actually believes it. They do.

    They actually believe there are Evil Empires, ‘Ejes’ Miami-Bogota-Madrid organizing a massive Economic War against Simon Bolivar’s glorious Venezuela, against the Illustrious, Immortal Comandante Supremo de la Felicidad, Chavez. Yes, around 8 Million severely under-educated, ill-informed and brainwashed believe that, and other Extra-dimensional Turds thrown out everyday by the Dictatorship.

    They do believe “Dollar One”, a freaking web site, controls the Banks and the economy and stole Kleptozuela’s money. They do. Ok. Maybe not 8 million, 7 million? Another 3 Million have doubts..

    And some still believe massive under-education is Not the basic root of the entire Chavista nightmare.

    Because, even after 4 decades of adecos/copeyanos stealing the oil, alienating and ignoring the majority populace, they couldn’t possibly believe and swallow these Monumental Inter-Galactic Mojones everyday, and smile about it!

    if they had the slightest clue, minimal information about the word, had attended 1 class of basic Economics world history in their lives, read 1 book, even watched some TV or listened to a half-educated person on radio during the 40 years of free media. They couldn’t possibly buy such unimaginable crap.

    More than brain washing, which the more proud, nationalistic or patriotic of us like to admit, it’s plain and simple Mass Ignorance. Massive under-education what continues to kill Kleptozuela.

    All you need is to add are the bus drivers’ Regime, some oil, and you have MegaGuisos Cubazuela, patria ‘pa rato.

    • ““Dollar Today y todos los bandidos que hacen la guerra economica desde Miami. Segun acuerdos de extradiccion, el gobierno de los USA esta obligado a entregarnor esos bandidos que se robaron los bancos en Vzla””

      maburro should keep his trap shut about the “extradition agreements” bullshit, lest he wants to uninteltionally throw capodado, alsalami or any other heavywheight chavista turd into the croc pit.

  5. Ay.. que gonito lo que dise mi presidente, guerra con Dolal Oan!!

    Aunque nosotros tubieranos computadora y el gui-fi ese con intelne,, el pueblo de Bolival no habla Gringo pa leel esa vaina! Eso bandidos se lo roban toitico, los bancos completicos pol intelnett!!

  6. Good piece, but publishing the parallel exchange rate is not a crime, it was decriminalized when they reformed the exchange offenses law, newspaper in Venezuela publish the parallel rate. Selling foreign currency in the so called black market is not a crime per se, it is only a crime or misdemeanor if you are selling foreign currency acquired through Cencoex, banks are not removed from the equation, they act as intermediaries in currency operations, you cannot directly buy foreign currency from the government.

    • My point is that what Dollar Today does is actually not a crime any longer as a result of reforms passed BY the government itself.

      • And my point is that if you expect Maduro’s govermment to understand that your point means they cant do anything about it, you dont know them.

        Again, their whole definition of what is legal and what is not is “I approve it or not”. It doesnt matter what they put on laws or in the Constitution, and this is not the first case for them.

        Or, in the timeless Venezuelan saying, tienes razón, pero vas preso

        • maburro and his minions could preach a mass, but anyway, murder is still illegal, so are kidnapping, stealing and drug dealing.

          So they can get cuffed for those the second their regime ends.

    • It’s certainly not a crime in Florida …Heheh.
      There’s that pesky 1st amendment to the US Constitution.
      Gotta love the geeks and the internet.

  7. One more issue, regarding staff of 18…the website actually sells publicity. According to the guy I spoke to it gets around 800,000 to 1 million views per day. So they might also be earning money from that, not just from any potential speculation.. many of the staff members are people who write the articles on the site, not all of them are working on exchange rate research.

    • Wow!!! That’s actually a fantastic number! If they receive indeed 800,000 to 1 million vistors per day, 18 people providing content is a very small number. How many writers CC has got? 5 or 6? How many visitors per day? It’s a good way to check how understaffed Dollar Today is.

  8. Colombia and Guyana Border Wars, Dolal Tudey, and the Exxon Gringo Empire Axis of Evil.

    Stay tuned.. The Circus is back in town!

  9. Even if it is not a crime to publish the exchange rate , in the absence of any credible market information from a more reliable source its become the mandatory reference to find out what the free exchange rate is supposed to be , cucuta transactions should not in logic constitute a reference, they depend on data which can be distorted by all manner of conditions typical of the place where the information is gathered or even by the publishers of the page itself (if they were so inclined) . So even if it is not a crime it can harm the economy.

    The govt ought to allow any dollars bought or sold from sources other than those provided by the govt to be quoted publicly without restraint , that way we would have a trustwhorty reference to determine what the exchange rate actually is . There would be no need for an Economy Today.!!

  10. Once artificial controls are in place, EVERY transaction is an attempt to game the system, since anything but a market-derived rate IS gaming the system. Ain’t no way they have 18 chamos and some Juan Pablo is not raking in a few pesos or whatever on the side. And so are the 1,000,000 who are logging in every day. It’s all gaming. What amazes me is how any institution actually buys B’s. How do they get their money back from what is essentially just paper?

    • Add to the artificial controls that the society as a majority has been raised with the idea that “laws are a form to humiliate and screw you” and that “everybody who cheats and swindles is cool, while the ones who actually work are stupid fags” and you get this mess called chavismo as a result.

  11. Any one paying taxes or obligations denominated in Bs could find it very advantageous to use its hiperpriced dollars to buy Bs. Fro many years now ,come March the purchase of dollars rises exponentially to cover tax payments

  12. Questions I would have made straight to “Benjamin”.. (allegedly, https://twitter.com/eligiocedeno https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eligio_Cede%C3%B1o)

    1. Do you make money on your website? What are your sources of income from it?

    2. How de you explain a 50 VEF spread between cucuta cash and wire transfer greenbacks, a spread that’s only quoted by you and not other parallel-market sites?

    3. What is your primary motivation behind managing this website? Do you do it “for the Venezuelan people” or for your self interest?

    4. How can you challenge govt/private accusations that you are engaging in market manipulation, based on the twice-a-day fixing of a Cucuta benchmark as the “go-to” rate for a whole country’s transactions?

    5. What can you say to defend your position from the clear conflict of interest of communicating a “market rate” that is used by government arbitrageurs to engage in corruption, one that is now technically “legal”?

    • Whether or not Benjamin makes a profit from the Dollar Today website, he’s doing a Great Job for Venezuela. He deserves more than any freaking politician or dictatorship thief.

      Your questions are useless and as evil as the Empire’s Economic war against el Pajarito.

      • The questions are neither “useless” nor evil. Daniel’s questions are good because the answers help us understand better the information we receive. A normal market is open and transparent. Regrettably, Dolar Today is the only source we have. If it is not completely “open and transparent”, that is not the fault of the Dolar Today. Benjamin’s responses to Daniel’s questions can only help us to understand better our sole source of information about the current market value of Venezuela’s currency.

    • Daniel..I have sent your questions to the Dolar Today director..let’s see if he “joins the fray”… these are good questions which i did not fully answer in the article in order to keep it short. But the 50 spread he did explain it to me. Apparently he is refferring to the rate of large transactions that require bank wire transfers, where trading houses and banks charge an extra commission for and that is why it gets more expensive. The rate for cash transactions in the street, which is also listed in the site in smaller numbers, “cambio en efectivo” is the one that most people use…from my own experience that rate has been similar to what you see in person in cucuta, when you go and trade with someone in the international bridge, jsut before driving into San Antonio…anyhow, maybe the DT guy will come into this forum and explain himself

    • 1) Daniel, we do offer advertising to small companies (outside Venezuela) like real estate in Florida. Also, banner ads income cover some of the costs (its expensive to run a site with so many visits). The rest is covered with donations and banners alone will NOT cover expenses of operating DolarToday and paying for the editors.

      2) There is no need to explain “facts”. If you exchange “cash” you get a better deal selling Bolivars, this is because “cash” is hard to come by in Cucuta as it is difficult to obtain it. Cash is used to purchase gas and regulated products accross the border, you don’t pay with a “check” you pay “cash” for those. Now, if you are a big company buying $100K you don’t get to take Bolivars to Cucuta in your car trunk, you call, and they act as transaction brokers. They are the middleman, they do business with “banks” and comissions are involved in these type of deals. This is a well known fact. Why do you think so many people trust the rate we publish?

      3) If it were “self interest” We’ll probably be rich by now. we’ll be selling dollars, exchanging Bolivars and taking advantage of “inside information”… however, you can’t (and you will NOT) find a single person that will tell you he or she has made any deals with us. Cero, NONE. nada.. What started as a simple experiment-passtime, is now something we feel “needs to be done”. We feel that making information easily accesible is a way to contribute in society. Even google thinks that way.

      4) Cucuta exchange rate is decided based on Offer/Demand. It’s irrelevant what I think (or even what I publish) if I lie and publish a rate that does not correspond with reality, DolarToday will loose credibilily in less than 24 hours. Our secret, what makes us strong is reporting “exactly” what happens in Cucuta, no more, no less, period.

      5) We “communicate”, it doesn’t matter if the rate helps (or hurts) the goverment. We need to be objective. And, anyone following dolartoday will remember that when Sicad II appeared the black market rate dropped like 30%. Were we having a “conflict of interest” then? of course not. We report whatever the “reality” is, so there is no need to “defend” facts and reality.

      • Great job. Dollar today and those 18 kids are doing a very important media job against the dictatorship.

        Sincere thanks!

      • Thanks for coming up with the responses. I’m still not completely sold on the “DolarToday” rate versus the cucuta rate in terms of the 50 VEF spread, but I still appreaciate your responses.
        Only thing I’d like to add to the conversation is that DT rate is usually the offer side of the market (if you are looking to sell USD, it’s hard to find a buyer at DT; but most sellers will quote something close to DT to deal). I think it would be more interesting to quote bid/ask DT rates; that way we could get a better picture of the market for both buyers and sellers of USD, both in terms of levels but also of liquidity (a bigger spread is a more illiquid market).

        Best regards.

  13. A job that pays you in greenbacks to confound and undermine the government on a daily basis. That’s the dream.

    • Absolutely. As a true patriot, democrat, heck, Capitalistic Venezuelan Republican, where can I send my resume to apply for a job with Dollar Today?

      I hereby offer my freelance Internet servers IP mirrors expertise, to work from home in the Empire. Multilingual, references and further details upon request!

    • And being able to motivate the president of a nation, to throw a temper-tantrum on TV, just by telling the truth?
      Talk about fringe benefits!

    • Seriously, who needs Netflix when you have this?

      Not the first time someone has had such a reaction. My take on it has long been that a history of Chavismo would make a great roman à clef. In the case of Chavismo, truth is stranger than fiction.

      Then you have Mario Vargas Llosa’s novels, many of which can be read as roman à clefs or fictionalized history. And which I find much more readable than Gabo’s.

    • Sweeeet!! This is very important because it shows Brazil still has some separation of powers, a Federal Police and a real Justice System. A Colossal Thug of Oderbrecht’s caliber would never fall in today’s Kleptozuela, and there are many.

      Brazil also still has some honest Military top guys. Getting rid of Chavismo and Luladron’s nasty, gigantic corruption won’t be easy, but this is the tip of the iceberg. And it;s extremely important for the entire Planet, not to mention the Americas and specifically Vzla. South and Central America depend heavily on giant Brazil.

      When Brazil joins Chile and Uruguay as a democratic, progressive nation, Argentina will soon follow, and it will greatly help bring Castro-Chavismo’s crap down.

      What’s going on in Brazil right now with these huge scandals, PetroBras and gthe entire Construction Industry is Enormous. Much more important for Kleptozuela than the laughable elections and the political prisoners struggle. When Lula and Dilma fall, Cabello, the Argentinian bitch and others will follow. Not to mention the 3 stooges of Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador..

      Vamos Brazil !!

  14. A thorn? LOL. They are partners. When Lechuga Verde folded, someone spent a lot of money marketing Dolartoday, a lot of money. For what?

    • lechuga verde WAS buying and selling dollars, that’s why the got shut, because they were doing exactly that shady cheating of claiming “dollars cost this much today” while having the bills on their grasp.

  15. Although Im willing to accept Benjamins statements as to how the page is run and do understand that of course it can be used to engage on a bit of discreet business on the side I suspect the motives for setting up and maintaining the page go beyond the purely venal or the desire to render the dollar buying public a very useful . I think that this government had done a lot of people a lot of harm , real harm , to their lives , to their well being and has therefore gathered a lot of tough cunnning enemies some with access to large resources who have a natural desire to get back at their former or present persecutors , moreover to do what it takes to rid the country of its tormentors. There are many ways in which these people are moving on many different fronts to cause damage to the regime is small and big ways . I wager they are constantly seeking targets of oppornity to discredit the regime and foil their tyranical plans and bring them down every way they can .

    This page may be one of them , the govt is rendered frantic by having the country follow an exchange rate which rises constantly and which whatever they do they cant control . it is as the saying goes a thorn at their side . Some day we will know benjamin , hopefully at some time of celebration . For the time being lets applaud these shart witted relentless energetic fellows !! Oh and by the way there are many articles in DT which are must reading to stay informed.

  16. 3) If it were “self interest” We’ll probably be rich by now. we’ll be selling dollars, exchanging Bolivars and taking advantage of “inside information”… however, you can’t (and you will NOT) find a single person that will tell you he or she has made any deals with us.
    ———-

    Estimado Ben: I think the questions were not that you were brokering deals or acting as a middleman in third-person transactions, but As Bill B. just mentioned, people associated with “Ben” were perhaps engaging in “some discrete business on the side.” While laudable to keep puting the truth out there, and to see the bus driver squirm at not being able to control the narrative, if NOBODY at your joint has ever gamed the system, you and your 18 saints are not of this earth. You are all saints.

    JL

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